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Italy - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Italy. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
The level of street crime is comparable to that of other European countries, particularly in large urban centres. Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occur at tourist sites, on public transportation, and at major airports and railway stations. If possible, avoid carrying handbags. Motorcyclists frequently grab bags and other personal belongings from pedestrians, often resulting in injury.
Isolated incidents of violence may occur in Italy, sometimes involving small-scale bombs and incendiary devices. These incidents have usually been carried out by criminal or extremist groups and directed at Italian institutions.
Exercise caution and be alert while travelling by road and rail, as criminals target foreigners at gas stations, on highways, and on trains. Car theft occurs at gas stations and on highways. Keep a close eye on your vehicle when stopping at service areas.
Keep your windows closed, bags and handbags out of reach, and doors locked at all times. Never leave personal belongings unattended in a vehicle and use secure parking facilities, especially overnight.
Thieves often work in pairs or groups and will attempt to distract the victim while their accomplices rob them.
Be especially vigilant when stopped at traffic lights, as bags are often snatched from passenger seats by thieves travelling on scooters.
Rail passengers have been offered drugged food or drink and been robbed or assaulted while sleeping. Keep your compartment door securely locked.
The number of lost and stolen passports increases during the summer months. To prevent loss or theft, exercise caution and carry a photocopy of your passport, rather than the original.
Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings as they can turn violent without notice.
Transportation strikes regularly affect services of the national airline, railways, city bus lines and taxis. Plan alternate travel arrangements and regularly check with transportation providers for any schedule changes. Monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. Drugs may be present that could put you at risk of assault and robbery. Incidents of this sort have occurred even in small towns known to be frequented by tourists.
Fraudulent electronic readout devices are being used at automated banking machines (ABMs) in Italy. These devices are designed to capture the account information stored on the card’s magnetic strip through a card reader fixed over the legitimate reader. The customer’s PIN is recorded with a small video camera installed above the keypad. The victim’s banking information is then sold or traded online. To avoid being a victim of this fraud, use ABMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business, avoid card readers with an irregular aspect, cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN, and check any unauthorized transactions on your account statements.
See our Overseas fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
City streets are often narrow, winding and congested. Motor scooters and other vehicles are often driven recklessly. Lane markings are frequently non-existent, and traffic lights are limited and often ignored. Numerous accidents are caused by excessive speeding on highways and rural roads.
Pay close attention to road conditions and refrain from driving during or immediately after severe storms. Monitor local news and follow the advice and warnings issued by local authorities.
In northern Italy, be aware of ground fog and poor visibility, especially in winter.
Only use officially licensed taxis equipped with roof lights and meters. If you call a radio taxi, be aware that the meter starts to run as soon as the cab leaves to pick you up.
Rail service is widely available. Ferry services are available to Greece, North Africa and local islands (for example, Sicily, Sardinia, Capri, Ischia and Elba).
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
If you intend to do mountaineering or ski touring:
a) never practice these activities alone;
b) always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company;
c) buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
d) ensure you are in top physical condition;
e) advise a family member or friend of your destination, your itinerary and when you expect to be back;
f) know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
g) register with the Embassy of Canada in Italy; and
h) obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out, and do not venture off established trails, especially in early or late winter.
General safety information
Pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Never travel with your passport and proof of Canadian citizenship (birth certificate or Canadian citizenship certificate) in the same bag or pouch. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss.
Dial 113 for emergency assistance.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Italian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Italian Republic or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of their expected departure from the Schengen area. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return ticket, proof of the purpose of your visit to Italy and/or proof of sufficient funds for your stay. Having more than one source of funds (for example, cash, traveller's cheques, credit card, bank card) is recommended.
Tourist Visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Business Visa: Not required for stays up 90 days*
Work Visa: Required
Student Visa: Required
* The 90 days begin upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area.
The following 26 countries comprise the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The Schengen area has common rules regarding visas and controls at external borders.
You do not need visas for short-term visits of up to 90 days within a six-month period. Your stays are cumulative, and include visits to any country within the Schengen area. Some countries require that you register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.
It is important to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.
After 90 days of stay in the Schengen area, you must leave for another 90 days before you can re-enter.
If you overstay the permitted 90 days in the Schengen area, you may be fined or deported. To visit for longer than 90 days, you must obtain a long-stay national visa.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks (e.g., those participating in outdoor activities in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Good medical care is widely available. Medical treatment for life-threatening emergencies and in an emergency room is free of charge. Hospitals charge up front for any convalescence or follow-up care.
Decompression chambers are available in major hospitals throughout the country.
The air in large cities can be heavily polluted.
Local authorities of Naples and the surrounding areas have been dealing with a garbage disposal problem, which in the past has resulted in tons of waste piling up in the streets. The situation has improved, but some areas may still be affected.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada and Italy are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Italy to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Italian authorities.
Buying counterfeit merchandise, such as sunglasses, purses and so on, is illegal. Tourists who are seen purchasing counterfeit items can be severely fined by local police.
It is illegal to photograph government buildings and military installations. Ask permission from local authorities before taking photographs of these locations.
Observe public notices about conduct found in and around tourist areas in major cities. Visitors may be issued tickets and fines for dropping litter or for sitting, eating or drinking on steps and courtyards around the main churches and public buildings in Florence and Rome.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.
An International Driving Permit is strongly recommended, and an international car insurance plan is mandatory. An adhesive sticker indicating country of origin must be displayed on the back of foreign cars.
Turning right at red lights is not allowed.
The use of cellular telephones while driving is prohibited, unless they are fitted with a hands-free device.
The use of headlights on highways and major roads during the day is mandatory.
Fines for minor traffic violations must be paid immediately in cash.
A special permit–issued only to residents and members of public organizations–is necessary to have access to Rome city centre by car. Similar restrictions are in place in most city centres. Take note of street signage and abide by the Zona a Traffico Limitato (limited traffic zone restriction), often abbreviated as "ZTL". In the summer, only residents are allowed to take their cars to the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. Travellers have received traffic tickets by mail several months after their return to Canada. The municipalities use the services of a private company in order to collect the fees abroad.
The currency of Italy is the euro (EUR).
Credit cards are widely accepted, while Canadian currency is not. Traveller's cheques must be cashed at a bank or American Express counter, and are subject to cashing fees. Automated banking machines (ABMs), known as “Bancomat” in Italy, are widely available.
When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to Customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
In the fall, strong rainfall and winds often cause significant damage to roads and generate localised landslides in coastal regions such as Tuscany, Liguria, Campania, Calabria, and Sicily. Pay close attention to road conditions and refrain from driving during or immediately after severe storms. Monitor local news and follow the advice and warnings issued by local authorities. In case of emergency, contact the police by dialling 113 toll-free from any landline or Italian cellular phone.
Central and southern Italy are located in an active seismic zone. Take note of the coordinates of the Embassy of Canada in Rome or those of the nearest Canadian consulate to contact in the event of an emergency
Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily, is Europe's most active volcano. If you are travelling to the area, closely monitor activity levels through local media, be aware of any risks, and follow the advice of local authorities. Active volcanoes with lava flows are also located on the islands of Stromboli and Vulcano in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily.
Forest fires occur often in the summer months, including on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. In case of a major fire, stay away from affected areas, follow the advice of local emergency services personnel, and monitor local media for up-to-date information. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke and affect travellers with respiratory ailments. For assistance, contact the Embassy of Canada in Rome.
Rome - Embassy of Canada
Udine - Consulate of Canada
Milan - Consulate of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Rome and follow the instructions. You may also place a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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